By Shannon M. Duffy, MFT, LCPC
The New Year is upon us. Many of us have reflected upon the previous year and note the changes we want to make in the new year. Typical resolutions are focused on health and weight loss and wanting to feel better about oneself. As we all know, the motivation behind those resolutions tends to fizzle in a few months and those goals or aspirations or changes we wanted to make end up becoming a lesser priority or in some cases a complete failure.
Having witnessed this trend personally and professionally, I felt it was important to address these goals as more of a spectrum and start to incorporate the use of a Vision Board within my therapeutic practice.
What is a Vision Board? It’s pretty simple: writing goals that are short term and long term, dreams, and bucket list types of ideas onto a poster, board, or anything that makes it look appealing. Many people like to get creative and use pictures or inspirational quotes on their board to give it more motivation. What I like about putting down everything from the specific goals of wanting to get a certain grade in a class to more vague goals of wanting to have a better relationship with your sibling, is that you have a spectrum of what your overall outlook on life entails. Yes, for some that can be overwhelming but for others it gives you something to keep focusing on such as a life goal of completing an Ironman.
In the therapeutic setting, the Vision Board can be a work in progress as our ideals and aspirations can and will change. Once they are put down on the Vision Board, we can prioritize them and develop steps towards achieving them. Some of the goals or ideas can be considered SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals which will give you a sense of achievement through the steps to take in how to approach them.
The more vague goals are a little tricky to develop steps towards achieving but also can be more meaningful in their accomplishment. Improving relationships with your siblings for example, can demonstrate the importance of the relationship and also note the changes of effort needed to create a better relationship. The interesting part of this goal is that it will be something you decide if you feel the relationship has improved or is where you want it to be or look like.
As the New Year begins we wish for success in our careers, family, relationships, and health. The Vision Board keeps you focused on how to achieve that success through displaying positive images of your goals, dreams, and outlook on life.
Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.